How Not to Praise Your Kids
This is a very interesting article that I read in New York Magazine. A recent study found that praising a child's intelligence set them up for future failure but praising a child's work ethic made the child strive to work harder in the future. Check out the link, it's definitely worth a read.
I noticed when I volunteered in my son's classes throughout his elementary years the teachers and aides would only praise the kids when spoken to alone so the other children wouldn't get upset hearing them being praised and they knew when they were being praised by the teacher calling on them for the answers to questions. One the kids caught on to what the teachers were doing they all paid much more attention to classroom discussions etc... Laura B.
Our school has had profesional development days devoted totaly to this topic and how to implement it. It really is interesting how we take telling kids how smart they are for granted. Don't get this info wrong, they aren't telling you not to praise your children, they are just saying, be specific about what you are praising them for. Instead of saying, "Wow, you are really smart!" say, "Wow, you really understand how to work out those multiplication problems pretty good. You must have worked really hard on mastering that." It takes some practice thinking about the exact thing you want to compliment a child on and some think that it is using a lot of words to say the same thing but children's responses are amazing when they know exactly what it is you thing they are good at.
This is an excellent article! Thank you for sharing this.
I heard Dr. Dweck at a parent/teacher seminar just this past week. While at first I thought she was relating things I had heard before, as she went on, I listened more carefully. She had research results which measured the effects of too much and empty praise and she had an alternative. I left very impressed and have passed on the info to my co-teachers.
It really was a great article. I knew vaguely about this research, but I didn't realize I needed to start thinking about it so early (my children are 2 and 3).